Acoustic noise cancelling headphones reduce the surrounding noise around your headphones by creating “anti-noise.” This is done by tiny built-in microphones within the earpiece and active battery powered electronics that reverses and amplifies the external unwanted sound and feeds it along with the listening source sound. This significantly reduces the external noise that you would otherwise hear and allows you to enjoy listening to music or other audio tracks at a much reduced and comfortable volume.
The normal tendency is to block external sound by turning up the volume, but noise cancelling technology allows the listener a quieter listening experience at a lower and safer volume.
Headphone noise canceling method can be Active or Passive
Active noise cancelling headphones uses external microphones built into the headset and built in battery power to achieve this serene listening experience.
Passive noise cancelling headphones on the other hand reduce surrounding noise by enclosing the ears and by using noise dampening high density foam and other materials that have noise absorbing qualities.
The tradeoff of reduced external sound results in a heavier set of headphones. These heavier passive headsets are widely used in industry where workers are subjected to high noise levels such as aircraft handlers and helicopter pilots.
Headphone design can be of various types. They can be over-ear, on-ear or in ear earbuds type, rigid or folding, lightweight and not so light. The choice of headphone type is subjective and depends on individual preference, affordability and fashion.
Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, PSB Speakers of America, AKG, Audio-Technica and Beats Studio are some of the brands that produce these acoustic noise canceling headphones. Bose was the first company to introduce noise cancelling headphones.
Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Wireless noise cancelling headphones eliminate the need to have a wire between the headset and source. The useful range of wireless headphones varies from 50 to 300 feet. They typically use 2.4 GHz frequency to operate and maybe subjected to interference. Sennheiser makes home theater wireless headphones.
Bluetooth Noise cancelling Headphones
Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones uses Bluetooth technology to offer the listener untethered freedom to listen to their favorite music from multiple types of Bluetooth enabled sources. These headphones are the most expensive ones as they incorporate dual technology of Bluetooth and active noise cancelling.
In ear noise cancelling headphones
In ear headphones fit deep inside the ear and like earplugs, offer the best noise blocking feature and when coupled with active noise cancellation, offers excellent listening experience. In-ear headphones that sit deep in the offers better noise rejection. Others which do not sit deep in the ear canal offer less noise blocking but are more comfortable to wear.
What to look for when shopping for an acoustic noise cancelling headphone?
- Frequent air travelers find the noise cancelling feature of headphones very soothing. An included airline adapter is very convenient.
- Compact, folding design is useful for traveling.
- Detachable cords can be useful if you plan to use the headphones only for blocking out sound on long flights.
- Do they use rechargeable or regular disposable batteries.
- Your preference for size (on-ear or over-ear or earbuds).
- Your price comfort level.
Shop around for features and price that most suits your needs and wallet. Bose makes both an around the ear and on the ear type that is in the $300-$350 price range. Beats Studio has them in various color choices in the $300s.
Noise cancelling is very effective against airplane engine noise and offers hours of silence along with pure listening experience.
How Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones Work
If you are considering getting yourself a pair of noise cancelling headphones take a look at this — considered by many to be one of the best available.